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Ruger Old Army

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by ThePerfectOne, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. ThePerfectOne

    ThePerfectOne New Member

    hi there, I'm relatively new into blackpowder-shooting. I'm only 20 years old, have several firearms, but the blackpowder-bug seemt to have bitten me.

    I was looking for a powerful, robust, massive, goodlooking revolver, and the Old Army seems to fit in.

    I do have a couple of questions though:

    1) recoil, I'm a pretty big guy, so I can handle some. since I want something powerful, heavy recoil is a must for me. it doesn't have to be the .454casull type of recoil, but something in between a .357 magnum and a .44 magnum should do it. how's the Old Army doing in this area :confused:

    2) what's the ammo cost, if you take lead balls, percussion caps, powder and something to seal of the cilinder for a total of 100 shots. how much will this cost me. I'm going for a blackpowder revolver since a .44 magnum seems to expensive in the ammo area here in Belgium.

    3) performance, does it equal the .357 magnum performance (let's say 6-shot 3" groups at 25 yards)?

    any other toughts or maybe some good pictures are also welcome of course.

    hope you guys can help me out here :)
  2. RON in PA

    RON in PA Active Member

    The Old Army may not be your cup of tea is you want to feel stout recoil. Even with max loads, it doesn't recoil that much.

    Accuracy-wise it will hold its own with a modern gun, but for this you need to shoot wimpy loads.

    If you need the excitment of a 44 mag's recoil get a replica Walker or Dragoon. They burn more powder and of course cost more to shoot.

    Using a forty grain powder charge the cost should be a maximum of 18 cents, thats with store bought balls, if you cast it will be less and figuring max cost for caps and powder.

    If on the other hand, if you don't need the magnum performance and want the best shooting out of the box cap and ball revolver get the Ruger.
  3. Sir Galahad

    Sir Galahad member

    The Ruger Old Army is hands-down the best blackpowder revolver there is. The sights are far superior to the sights on the Colt replicas.

    You can cut costs by getting a lead pot and a mold and casting your own balls. As always---ventilation, safety glasses, closed-toed shoes, no water nearby and gloves when casting. To seal the cylinder after loading, you can, of course, use Wonder wads. But you can save more money by using Crisco over the balls after loading. I don't know if you have the brand Crisco in Belgium, but it's just solid cooking shortening.

    The Ruger Old Army, I have noticed on other message boards, is a pretty popular seller in Europe. Don't know why that is except that Europeans recognize a fine pistol when they see one. :D So, I think you'd be more than happy with one. As far as percussion caps go, RWS of Germany makes a very popular brand, so you ought to be able to get them pretty cheap over there. Wano of Germany makes a very good black powder, with an even better grade called Scheutzen. The Swiss make a brand aptly named "Swiss" which is top of the line, too. You ought to be able to find all of these fairly cheap, I would think. The Ruger Old Army is the blackpowder revolver that you buy and don't have to buy another because it isn't up to snuff. Some replica revolvers are pretty crappy, to be honest.The Ruger Old Army is made to last a lifetime and made with the Ruger "like a tank" philosophy. That's why Ruger selected the Remington design to base the Old Army on. The Remington had a top strap and was stouter than the Colts, which did not. I plan on an Old Army myself.
  4. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Sir G has pretty much covered that ... but gotta say .. having had some Colt pattern ''repro's .. it has always been my wish to get an Old Army .. some buddies used that and it is a superb gun IMo ..... best cap & ball there is. I much prefer the Rem pattern, with top strap.

    Being stainless is a big plus and whilst recoil is quite modest .... there is something about the whole movement of the piece that is very satisfying. yep .. cast your balls (careful!) ..... and RWS do do caps ... so not too bad to feed and fuel ..... as for grease ... well, tho I don't do that much BP these days .. ''Bore butter'' does seem better than the old pump grease I used to use!:)

    .357 mag it ain't .... no BP I know will match that but ... it can be awful enjoyable.
  5. fallingblock

    fallingblock New Member

    It's simply the best available....

    In a modern production black powder revolver.
    The availability in stainless is a plus, too.

    As sir Galahad says 'built like a tank':)

    Here in Australia, the Ruger Old Army is the one which wins by far the most B.P. revolver competitions.

    And, they are FUN:D

    P.S.: Look at this link....now there is a handsome and slick B.P. revolver:D

  6. ThePerfectOne

    ThePerfectOne New Member

    thanks guys :) those are all fine comments that gives me a good general picture of the Old Army.

    altough the casting wouldn't be very interesting for me I guess, since I would only shoot about 150 rounds a year. and besides, "casting your own balls" like Sir Galahad suggested sounds awefully painful :uhoh: :D

    one thing though I don't really understand (probably due to my lack of vocabulary). it's about sealing of the cilinder. what do you use for this? I don't really get it when you say "grease". there are lots of greases, but I guess they aren't all designed for blackpowder-shooting. can you use "Verdämmungspropfen" :confused: I got this from a German catalogue.

    Sir Galahad: yes, we do have this Swiss quality powder, here they call it Schweize Schwarzpulver. it will set you back for about $ 45 for 1000g (that's about 35 oz). we also have wano, but they have different sorts of powder coming from $ 15 up to $ 35.

    fallingblock: that sure is one goodloocking BP-revolver. now if they only had one in a 7.5" barrel length :(
  7. fallingblock

    fallingblock New Member


    That Stainless Old Army with the fixed sights is also available in a 7 1/2" barrel...I just have a weakness for the handy 5.5":D


    Sub-Type: Black Powder
    Family Name: Old Army
    Gauge/Caliber: 45
    Finish: Satin Stainless
    Stock/Grip: Rosewood
    Barrel Length: 7 1/2"
    Rear Sight: Fixed
    Suggested Retail Price: $ 535.00

    I'll defer to Sir Galahad to explain the grease:)

    Felt wads (under the projectile) are also good, and less messy than grease, although they take up some powder capacity. Most Old Army Rugers I've seen prefer less than a full charge for maximum accuracy, so for target-shooting it isn't an issue.
  8. ThePerfectOne

    ThePerfectOne New Member

    thanks, didn't know that last part. I did know they had the 7.5" version at Ruger, but unfortunately without the ivory "pimp" grips :( buying them seperately will cost me $ 100 :eek:
  9. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Re grease and wads etc .... from my cap and ball active days (mostly Colt 1861 repro in 44) .. I did experiment with over powder wads but was too fiddly and seemed to confer little if any advantage.

    I cast my own balls ... (quiet ... it's painless, really) .. and these came out oversize, intentionally .... this meant that I shaved off a small ring when loading, thus producing a nice flat for rifling engagement .... and better obturation. I did take care to trim off any end sprue to keep a good shere.

    The grease both lubes barrel but more importantly seals the adjacent chambers on from another ... hopefully preventing any chain ignitions. I did use water pump grease for a long time . it was good and thick and stayed put well ... I think now tho that ''Bore Butter'' (by Thompson center) .... is best ...... it does seem to reduce fouling and also stays put OK.

    Small point ... I always made sure that ball seated very firmly on powder ...... not good to gave any space remaining.
  10. fallingblock

    fallingblock New Member

    That last point is very important!

    The one about not leaving any space between powder and ball.

    Also, P95Carry is correct about the over-powder wads being more fiddly than grease over the ball...probably not worth it unless you are in a hot climate like I am. Then, most grease seems to delight in melting and running over you, gun, holster and anything it can reach. Some folks use a mixture of beeswax and grease, which is a little firmer. I don't think it would be a problem in Belgium :)

    Sorry about those pseudo-ivory grips...they surely don't cost Ruger that much extra!:rolleyes:
  11. Sir Galahad

    Sir Galahad member

    Pimp gun---LOL, they'd have actually carried Colt 1849 Pocket Models in .31 cal.:D

    I just broke out my 2003 Ruger catalog and they have:
    Simulated ivory in the 5 1/2" barrel only. The adjustable sight version is available only in 7 1/2" barrel. But here's what you CAN do. Get the grips from River Junction Trade Co. if they have some to fit the Ruger. They cost $50 for their ivory replicas and they have some with designs like 4 Aces on them! :D If you post a query on this board (and on the revolver board) asking for "need ivory grips for Ruger Old Army", I bet some folks might be able to steer you towards some inexpensive ones.

    The grease over the balls prevents the firing of one chamber from possibly igniting the other ones. It is remotely possible for that to happen since each chamber has loose powder in it. So, people either put a "Wonder Wad" (made of felt) over the powder before loading the ball, or they put a grease over the balls after loading the cylinder. Many folks use regular baking shortening, or refined lard. You might also ask the local blackpowder shooters what they use. There might be a local item that works best. It just takes a little bit to cover the ball in the chamber. Also check out the muzzleloading message boards like "Doug's Muzzleloading Message Board" and "Tim's New Friendship Muzzleloading Board" and ask folks there what they use. Good luck and happy shooting!:D
  12. ThePerfectOne

    ThePerfectOne New Member

    thank you very much for your excellent responses gentlemen :)

    I sure like those ivory grips, but ordering them from the USA will cost me a lot of $ to get it here in Belgium I guess.

    I'll first plan to buy the Old Army with 7.5" barrel, SS and adjustable sights, later I can always buy the grips seperately. unfortunately I'll have to wait a whole year, 'cause you can't buy too many guns in a short period here, and we (my dad and I) already bought 5 firearms the last 2 and a half years (a Ruger GP 161 .357magnum, a CZ 122 .22LR, a FAL with scope and all the sniper custom stuff, a GLOCK 17 3rd gen. and a COLT AR 15 heavy barrel).

    that may not sound much to some of you guys who probably buy several guns a year, but here in Belgium it's almost a crime to buy so many guns in such a short period :D

    but the Old Army is certainly on my list, I want it real bad!
  13. foghornl

    foghornl New Member

    I haven't shot a BP revo in a long time, but I only forgot the "over the ball" grease ONCE!

    Had a 'chain-fire', i.e. the next loaded chamber went off about 1/2 second after the desired chamber fired. Not something easily forgotten.
  14. ThePerfectOne

    ThePerfectOne New Member

    can you give us some more details on what happened :confused: did your revolver blew up, did you get injured, ...?
  15. Mk VII

    Mk VII New Member

    I use automotive grease from a converted 'ear, nose and throat' hospital syringe. Works for me.
    You may want to get/make a higher front sight, if using wimp loads.
  16. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    MK VII ... ''higher front sight for wimp loads''???? Surely you'd need to reduce front blade height!
  17. Frohickey

    Frohickey New Member

    You could give Lett grips a call and see if they offer the grips for the Ruger Old Army. They are supposed to be the OEM for Ruger grips.

    Yes, please tell us what happened after the chainfire.

    Crisco can work, and they have ones that are butter-flavored too. :D
  18. Mk VII

    Mk VII New Member

    no, it shot high. Several of us had the same experience, even with the sight wound down to the lowest setting, when using wimp loads and semolina filler to compress the powder properly (it keeps the cost down, and the smoke on our indoor range which quickly overwhelms the ventilation system). I made a Patridge sight out of 1/8" mild steel. Others bought them - apparently Ruger make a higher sight, but don't publicise it for some reason.

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